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December 10, 2016

Sen. George Mitchell’s Head-Scratcher on C-SPAN About Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

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“... Palestinian authorities have long since renounced violence and accepted Israel's existence and have opted for peace negotiations to achieve a state.”

This assertion by George Mitchell (Democrat) – former U.S. diplomat (Israeli-Palestinian conflict) and Senate Majority Leader – was stated 17 minutes into an hour-long interview aired on the C-SPAN BookTV “After Words” program. It was in connection with admonishing Israel’s government to wait no longer to make a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA) led by Mahmoud Abbas.

The program was recorded on Nov. 16, 2016 but not aired until Dec. 3, 2016. It was repeated on subsequent days.

Interviewer Jane Harman, former Member of Congress, now president and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson Center, spoke with Mitchell about his new book, "A Path to Peace: A Brief History of Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations and a Way Forward in the Middle East." The conversation was generally unremarkable except notably for the assertion cited here. Except for the fact that Harman here represented C-SPAN, whose record concerning Israel is generally one of journalistic malpractice, it would have been surprising that the former ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee failed to challenge the highly dubious assertion.

When have the Palestinian authorities renounced violence and accepted Israel's existence as a Jewish state? Acceptance of Israel's existence other than as a Jewish state is a non-sequitor. Furthermore, while most of the 22 Arab Muslim countries treat non-Muslim citizens as second-class ones, Israel has never seen a contradiction between its Jewishness and the need to respect and protect non-Jewish minorities. Under Israeli law, all (including Arab minorities) are provided full civil rights. Indeed, Israel is one of the few places in the Middle East where Arab women may vote in local and national elections.

Palestinian public opinion polling shows consistent large majority opposition to Israel’s existence as a Jewish state while approving of terrorism against the Jewish state. A recent example of this is a December 2015 poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR).

Recurring violence has been incited by longstanding and relentless anti-Israel and anti-Jewish invective from the Palestinian media, mosques and schools. Recent Palestinian violence – a year-long spate of stabbings, shootings and car rammings – has been fueled by daily Palestinian incitement against Jews by PA officials who honor terrorists and praise their acts of violence. The most recent wave of terror began around the time that an incendiary declaration was broadcast to Palestinians by PA controlled media.

Among the sources reporting on this matter was The Wall Street Journal on Oct. 18, 2015: "Mr. Abbas, the PA president, said the following on Palestinian television on Sept. 16: ‘We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah, every martyr will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.'"

Palestinian Authority President Abbas has insisted that the recent Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis is a natural consequence of despair but the evidence shows that Palestinian incitement plays a major part in the phenomenon.

Meanwhile Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu awaits a meaningful response regarding negotiations from the Palestinian side while his Palestinian counterpart Abbas has repeatedly and explicitly rejected the idea of two states for two peoples. Palestinian leaders rejected U.S. and Israeli offers of two-state solutions in 2000, 2001, 2008 and spurned renewed talks on such an agreement proposed by Secretary of State John Kerry in 2014.

The PA insists on various conditions unlikely to be accepted by any Israeli government before peace negotiations can take place, including: Israel must abide by Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state (evidently 22 Arab Muslim states is fine but one Jewish state is one too many) and Israel must accept a "right of return" (that does not exist in international law) for millions of Arabs (nearly all of whom have never lived in Israel) which would inevitably result in the Jewish state becoming unviable.

Questions for Mitchell, Harman and C-SPAN: What is the evidence that the PA has renounced violence against Israel? What is the evidence that the PA has accepted Israel’s existence as a Jewish state? What is the evidence that the PA has opted for peace negotiations without preconditions? There being none, Mitchell's assertion has little or no basis in reality.

Posted by MK at December 10, 2016 05:04 PM

Comments

What about all the land and property lost by Jews when they were thrown out of Arab countries.

Posted by: Julian Mannino at December 12, 2016 01:34 PM

The PA, while acknowledging Israel's right to exist, does not have to recognize it as a Jewish state.

This is simply an issue without "whataboutism" attached, meaning what happened in other countries to Jews there should not be considered by Israel, as Israel should try to prove that is is better and fairer than other countries;

Posted by: Mick at December 13, 2016 06:54 AM

you did not mention the stipends to attackers & their families

Posted by: em at December 13, 2016 12:13 PM

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